All posts by Livia

4 Land Rovers

I love Google Maps satellite view.
Andrew has worked out that his current Land Rover (probably) appears in FOUR places at once!

– outside his former flat in Manchester (on the Palatine Road, Dyckhoff historians note!)
– outside his current flat
– in Street View outside his current flat (but in a different place as those photos were taken on a different day, obviously)
– beside his brother’s storage unit in an estate in Penicuik.

Perhaps he’ll use the same excuse to explain his (cough)six bikes… :)

What I did on my holiday: Cycling

The last 3 days of my holiday seemed to turn into cycling-time. On Saturday there was a 20-milers outing which I joined. (My ride report here), although Andrew was too busy with Project work.

On Sunday we originally intended to head up to EPW for a couple of days, however we had a last-minute invitation from his friends Jon and Alison to go and visit them in Angus (nearish to Perth) and go for a bike ride. So we did that on Sunday before heading up to the Wood in the evening.

View Ride from Newtyle in a larger map

You’ll notice that the route is in 2 colours – one (purple) for the outbound trip and one (yellow) for the return trip which was only completed by 2/3 of the party as 1/3 managed to leave her bike lock key on her key ring in the Land Rover back at the starting point… but only remembered this after the bike was locked up at lunch time. Argh. Alison came to the rescue in their Land Rover and my bike and I were transported back while the men came by bike. Of course the majority of the outbound trip was uphill, and so the return trip was mostly downhill. I feel robbed :(

We made it up to EPW for about 11pm. We had been given instructions on how to turn the Nibe on to get hot water, but what we hadn’t been told was that the water would only start to heat at 5.30am. This meant that we sat up quite late hoping for enough hot water for a shower (we made up a fire to keep warm in the meantime as of course the heating was off too) but eventually went to bed after only a quick wash in cold water (Andrew had a very brief shower, brave man, but then he’s showered in glacial melt-water before so is Hardy).

The next day we had a lazy morning then went out for a bike ride in the afternoon. Link.

View South Glen Garry in a larger map
We eventually closed the house up and set off for home at about 7pm, which (after a stop at the Tomdoun for dinner and a chat with Mike and various guests) meant that I didn’t get home until 12.30am. zzzz

What I did on my holidays: Decorating

I’ve worked out that Andrew, given a week without NHS commitments or Uni work, will spend his time mountain biking and / or hillwalking. Which is jolly nice and healthy etc. What I’m slightly worried about is that I, given the same freedom from work, appear to go to my box room, survey my range of tools and think “what can I destroy / decorate this week?”

On Saturday I took agin’ the shabby old bench in the back garden (very rotten and wobbly and probably hadn’t been used for sitting on for several years) and attacked it with a crowbar. The remains have been collected by the nice men from the council this morning. Where once was a bench is now a flowerbed.


On Monday I decided to renew the seal around my bath (it was a bit mouldy and I’d got some special silicone dissolver from Gray’s a couple of weeks before). This was quickly removed, whereupon I then decided that the wood panelling around the bath was also a bit shabby and could do with touching up. Unfortunately the leftover paint from when I decorated it had all dried up, so I had to go to Farrow & Ball for some more. Who had such lovely colours that I decided to go Paint Room Yellow instead of just keeping it the same old Oval Room Blue. I hope that this will make the (north-facing) bathroom feel brighter and warmer.

Photos to follow when I have completed the decorating so that you can see before and afters.

Ride round Pencaitland

View Ride round Pencaitland in a larger map

Andrew & I went on a bike ride yesterday, in lovely sunshine and just a tiny bit too much wind (especially when heading back to the car, a bit tired).
We followed an old Railway line for about 7 miles, which was simple enough, then headed into some quiet back roads and a couple of random farm tracks which petered out into grassy paths and eventually some “gnarly singletrack” (i.e. mountain-bike difficulty with roots and low branches and close-together trees – I pushed my bike through that bit), before recovering and getting back onto wider routes and back to the starting point.

Ride round Pencaitland

About 18 miles in total – just nice for a late-afternoon ride (we set off about 4pm from the car park).

Trip to Traquair


Last Sunday we scooped up Karen and Adrian for a brief trip to Traquair (we had to canter round the house a bit because we got there only an hour before closing time). We completed the maze and had a wander round the grounds.

Holidays to use up

I’m on holiday (again) next week. Andrew & I originally hoped to get away somewhere however his to-do list is having to be saved in microprint now, so that’s not going to happen, except perhaps to EPW for a weekend. Instead I’m going to be doing some DIY and gardening.

I had originally booked 2 weeks off, however I’ve cut it down to one, and now intend to do a Road Trip (possibly in a newer car) to Points South in the second week of June, ending up in Cambridge for the weekend.

I don’t know where to go yet: I definitely won’t have time to see everyone I’d like to but I hope to catch up with a few friendsandrelations (like Rabbit).

On lovely homestay hosts

We had free accommodation in New York – Brooklyn Heights to be exact. Not because we were staying with a friend (like the first two times I went to NY) but because one of the members of our orchestra has lots of friends in NY and asked them if anyone would mind putting up some guests for a few days. The sister of one of her friends offered us accommodation (after some pre-checks like how old we were and what did we do for a living) and welcomed us into her family for 5 nights with open arms. She got rather offended when we bought some food to cook one night – and told us we should have raided her store cupboard. She wasn’t well – flu or similar – but still did her best to make us feel at home.

Her 2 sons came to the concert with father and grandfather, and loved it (which is impressive for 8 and 11 year olds to not be too cool for our sort of mayhem) – I hope that we can send her a DVD if it’s produced so that she can see what she missed.

American Loos

I’ve been back a few days and it’s time to chew over some thoughts from my trip to New York and Redmond.

So the most important thing first. The Loos:
America is one of the most advanced nations on this earth, technologically and socially. So why do all their public loos have doors with gaps around the edge that one can SEE THROUGH?
Also the height of the cubicles seems to be set by statute at about 3″ below my eye level – also making it disconcerting to visit.
And the loos themselves – apart from the disconcerting nature of self-flushing loos (which appear to be quite common) the fact that they are so shallow and have quite deep water is rather unpleasant! Perhaps the locals get used to standing to wipe (oh no, hang on, that wouldn’t work because the loo would flush before you could dispose of the paper). It’s all very Different And Foreign and we’d like Proper British Loos please!